Future in Hand, Hudson Ace Aiming High

August 30, 2019

By Doug Donnelly
Special for Second Half

HUDSON – Callie Bauer likes to make pros and cons lists.

When the Hudson High School athlete began making a list of whether she should commit to Western Kentucky University on a volleyball scholarship offer, she couldn’t find any cons.

“There are literally no cons for Western,” she said. “It checks off all the boxes. There’s no place I’d rather be going. … It was the only place that gave me intense butterflies.”

Bauer is only a junior, so Western Kentucky will have to wait on her volleyball skills. For now, they are on display in southeast Michigan and the Lenawee County Athletic Association. And, those skills keep getting better. As a sophomore, she was a unanimous all-LCAA first-team selection, selected as the Lenawee County Player of the Year and made the Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association’s Division 3 first-team all-state squad.

For the Tigers last season, Bauer had 712 kills and hit .396 on 1,353 attempts. She also had 446 digs and 415 assists. For Hudson, she’s known as a powerful outside hitter. In college, the 5-foot-11 Bauer expects to transition to setter.

“It’s sort of funny that around here people know her for hitting, but she’s going to college as a setter,” said her mother, Tricia Bauer. “Who knows? Maybe when she gets to Western Kentucky, they’ll see her as a hitter.”

Her mother, who played on Hanover-Horton’s Class C championship team in 1989, was Callie’s first volleyball coach. Callie started at the YMCA in Adrian as an 8-year-old.

“My mom definitely spurred it in me,” she said. “I think I just had a knack for it.”

As she improved in volleyball, so did her playing opportunities. She joined a Toledo, Ohio, club program for the offseason and eventually began playing with Impact Volleyball Club out of Fort Wayne, Ind. It takes nearly two hours to get to Fort Wayne for practice three nights a week, but it’s been a great experience, Bauer said.

“It’s pretty far to drive,” she said. “But, it’s the coaches, honestly. It’s a small club, just two teams. Everyone drives that far to be a part of it. I’m not the only one. The girls there are so good.”

Most of the drives from Hudson to Fort Wayne are with her mother. Last season Bauer also played basketball in the winter, which made for some hectic nights. After school, she’d go to basketball practice, then jump in the car and head to Fort Wayne for volleyball. On most of those nights, she’d get home after 11:30 p.m., shower and start all over the next day.

Club volleyball also has produced a lot of family time for the Bauers. This past club season, the family tagged along on trips to Chicago, Louisville, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Florida.

“It’s a great time to be together,” said her father, Jim Bauer. “We just get all packed in the car and drive. It’s a lot of good family time. You look forward to it.”

Jim Bauer played basketball at Hillsdale College before jumping right into coaching. Between his years at Pittsford and Morenci, he accumulated more than 200 wins. His 2014-15 Morenci team made it to the Breslin Center and played for the Class D championship. He stepped away from coaching basketball a couple of years ago to be sure he didn’t miss out on watching Callie play.

Being brought up in a house with two coaches has been a good experience, Callie said.

“When I first started, they would get on me more,” she said. “Now they are just supporters. I get my competitiveness from them. But, I’m hard enough on myself. I’m my own worst critic. They don’t need to be hard on me.”

It’s hard to find too much fault in Bauer’s game. This month she was named to an elite preseason All-American volleyball list.

“I was super happy about it and proud of it, but I kind of put it in the back of my mind,” she said.

Her dad said seeing her name on that list was special.

“I don’t think she realizes the magnitude of being on an ‘All-American’ list,” he said. “When I was a player, I couldn’t dream of making an All-American list. It’s amazing, really.”

Bauer isn’t worried about burning out of volleyball even though she plays year-round. When she feels herself getting to that point, she knows what to do.

“This past summer I had one of those experiences,” she said. “I was at a volleyball camp, where you eat and sleep volleyball the whole seven days. It was a lot. … When I get to that point, I take a step back and I don’t go into the gym for a week. I’ll go biking or painting or just do something else. I spend a lot of time doing volleyball, so I have to be careful.

“People ask me what I like to do in my free time, and I say, ‘free time?’”

Being committed to Western Kentucky – the second-winningest Division I program in the nation over the last 10 years – has taken some stress off Bauer’s shoulders.

“Now that I’m committed, club volleyball is less stressful for me. When you go to the tournaments, you see the college coaches on the sidelines and you think, ‘Oh boy, I hope they like me.’ Now that I have that secured and everything, I just play.

“I have a lot of work to do before I get there. I’m not going to step back. I’m probably going to get into the gym more now that I am committed. It’s a whole different mentality. It’s not so much just doing it for my high school team or club team or anything. I have something I can look to on the horizon. Two years from now I’m going to be playing against college teams. I’ve got to get ready. It’s another layer of motivation.”

Hudson is coming off a 38-win season but is younger this fall. As a two-year starter already, Bauer will be looked to by Tigers coach Shelly Hoard to be more of a leader.

“She’s continued to improve her game,” Hoard said. “She is definitely bringing a lot more leadership this year. She’s a great team member. Her whole understanding of the game, people’s roles and people’s capabilities and the opponent is better.

“She’s the real deal.”

Doug Donnelly has served as a sports and news reporter and city editor over 25 years, writing for the Daily Chief-Union in Upper Sandusky, Ohio from 1992-1995, the Monroe Evening News from 1995-2012 and the Adrian Daily Telegram since 2013. He's also written a book on high school basketball in Monroe County and compiles record books for various schools in southeast Michigan. E-mail him at [email protected] with story ideas for Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe counties.

PHOTOS: (Top) Hudson’s Callie Bauer, one of the state’s top juniors, fires a serve. (Middle) Bauer sets for a teammate during a match against Dundee. (Top photo by Matt Sisoler; middle courtesy of the Bauer family.)

JoBurg 3-Sport Great Capping Career Filled with All-State Honors, Team Trophies

By Tom Spencer
Special for MHSAA.com

April 5, 2024

It won’t be hard for Jayden Marlatt to remember opening day on the softball field from any of her four years at Johannesburg-Lewiston.

Northern Lower PeninsulaAs a freshman, she missed the opener due to needing to quarantine. Her sophomore and junior years started on the road because the Cardinals’ field was under construction.  

This season the Cardinals will open up — weather permitting — on their brand-new field, hosting Mio on Monday, April 8.  Marlatt is slated to be the starting pitcher again and add to her school record collection.

While Johannesburg-Lewiston is looking forward to playing on the new diamond, Marlatt and her teammates have high hopes of finishing the season almost 200 miles south. They’re looking to get back to Michigan State University – the site of the Division 4 Semifinals and Final.

The Cards have had their sites on that goal since they fell 4-2 to Mendon in last year’s Semifinal at Secchia Stadium. The loss ended a 30-4-1 campaign that saw the Cardinals play every game on the road for a second consecutive year, but come up only one victory short of a first championship game appearance.

The trip to East Lansing also came after the Cards won the program’s first District title since 2008 and advanced to the Semifinals for the first time since 1981.

“It has been a long two seasons on the road,” said eighth-year head coach Kim Marlatt, noting the team utilized a Little League field for practices during the stretch. “They’ve been putting in a lot of work in the offseason, so it is excited to get going.”

Cardinals’ 1,000-point scorer Marlatt sets up for a free throw attempt. The new field isn’t the only new things this spring. The Cardinals will have a junior varsity team for the first time during the Marlatt’s tenure. The JV squad is coached by Ryan Marlatt, who has been serving the program the past eight years as assistant coach. He also has been the head girls basketball coach at JoBurg the past two seasons.

The Marlatt coaches are the proud parents of Jayden, who continues to garner recognition as perhaps the greatest athlete in Johannesburg-Lewiston’s history. 

The three-sport star had a huge hand in all that JoBurg accomplished last season leading the team in batting average (.670), home runs (13) and runs batted in (61). As the team’s ace pitcher, she collected 249 strikeouts and compiled a 1.32 ERA.

“Jayden has put in the hard work,” Kim pointed out.  “She is a very humble athlete. ‘She doesn’t like to talk about herself. She likes to compete, and she likes to be on the top of her game for her teammates.”

Jayden has been named all-conference and all-state in softball, basketball and volleyball nearly every season over her four years at JoBurg. She’s led her teams to Ski Valley Conference, District and Regional titles along the way.

She’s also been named Player of the Year by multiple publications. And she’s a front runner to be voted the Most Valuable Player of the Ski Valley Conference in softball. Earlier this year, league coaches voted her the MVP for both basketball and volleyball.  

“The Ski Valley never used to vote on an MVP,” Ryan Marlatt said. “Hopefully she can add the triple crown and get softball this year.”

Jayden Marlatt, who has played all three sports all four years, acknowledged softball is perhaps her most treasured, and she’ll continue in that sport at Ferris State. Her career total of more than 500 strikeouts, and her 14 home runs last season, are both JoBurg school records. "I like them all but probably softball,” she confirmed when asked to name her favorite sport.

She averaged 12 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and four steals per game this winter helping the Cards basketball team to a conference runner-up finish. She was key to JoBurg's ability to put a 12-game winning streak together, and she topped the 1,000-point career mark along the way.

Also a standout in the fall, Marlatt prepares to connect during volleyball season.Her outstanding senior year on the basketball court and this spring’s possibilities nearly vanished as the volleyball season ended.

She suffered what looked to be a serious lower-leg injury in the final game of the JoBurg volleyball season. “She finished in the emergency room,” Kim Marlatt said.  

Diagnosed a high ankle sprain, it was an aggravation to an injury from her junior year in basketball. She wasn’t quite at 100 percent on the basketball court this season until the holiday break. She’s starting the softball season healthy, though.

Before the injury, Jayden led the Cards to their third volleyball conference championship over the last four years. After becoming JoBurg's all-time kills leader during her junior season, and with many of her teammates from her first three seasons graduating, Jayden had to fill a variety of roles while anchoring the offense from her outside hitter spot.

She ended up leading the team in both kills with 421 and digs, with 431, in her final season on the volleyball court. And she is listed among MHSAA’s all-time leaders in kills for a single match and career.

It’s more than Marlatt’s stats that stand out for Kristine Peppin, the school’s volleyball coach the past 15 years.

“It is not about the size of the school or the size of the player, it’s the heart that they have inside,” she proclaimed. “This girl would be a successful player on whatever team she was on. 

“Yes we’re a small school, small town,” she continued. “That kind of leadership and heart and drive to be the best is what’s given her that success.”

Marlatt’s work ethic is second to none, Peppin noted. She never saw Jayden give less than a “1,000” percent in practice or games in her career. 

Marlatt celebrates a trophy win during last season’s Semifinals softball run with parents (and coaches) Kim and Ryan Marlatt.“She’s a super hard worker and extremely modest for the kind of skill she possesses and the success she’s had,” Peppin said. “Her teammates think it’s amazing to be on her team.”

Marlatt’s volleyball skills caught the eye of at least one of her conference opponents’ coaches back in junior high. Ron Stremlow was performing one of his many coaching duties for Fife Lake Forest Area when he first saw Jayden on the volleyball court.

“I could tell then this girl was somebody special,” said Stremlow, who became one of the winningest coaches in state volleyball history with the Warriors. “When she got in high school, it just took off.

“She puts the time into it, and she works hard,” Stremlow continued. “Kids like that get what they deserve – they work for it.”

Stremlow, now retired, also acknowledged he’s enjoyed being able to watch the hard-throwing Marlatt on the softball field the last couple of seasons as Forest Area hosted the Cardinals consecutively due to JoBurg’s lack of a home field.

It’s something he’ll have to travel to do this year though, as JoBurg is scheduled to host the Warriors on April 15.

The Cardinals also will host a Regional on their new field June 8. The winners of District play at Rogers City, Harbor Springs, St. Ignace and Gaylord St. Mary will participate.

To play in the Regional, the Cards will have to emerge from the Rogers City District featuring the host Hurons, Atlanta, Hillman, Onaway, and Posen.

Tom SpencerTom Spencer is a longtime MHSAA-registered basketball and soccer official, and former softball and baseball official, and he also has coached in the northern Lower Peninsula area. He previously has written for the Saginaw News, Bay County Sports Page and Midland Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Johannesburg-Lewiston’s Jayden Marlatt drives a pitch during softball season. (2) Cardinals’ 1,000-point scorer Marlatt sets up for a free throw attempt. (3) Also a standout in the fall, Marlatt prepares to connect during volleyball season. (4) Marlatt celebrates a trophy win during last season’s Semifinals softball run with parents (and coaches) Kim and Ryan Marlatt. (Action shots by Dylan Jespersen/Petoskey News-Review; family photo by Breya Domke.)